Monday, March 8, 2010

Wallace isn't a cure-all

Whatever step Browns general manager Tom Heckert takes next to improve the Browns quarterback situation is more important than the one taken Monday when he swapped a 2011 draft choice for Seattle backup quarterback Seneca Wallace.

Wallace has been a reliable backup to Matt Hasselbeck for five years, but he is not a starting quarterback - at least not one who should be handed the ball for 16 games in a season.

The trade makes it easier to part with Derek Anderson before his $2 million roster bonus is due a week from Friday. Now Brady Quinn can head into the offseason program knowing he is the starter. He has not been in that situation since his senior year at Notre Dame in 2006.

The Browns still should draft a quarterback, because trading for Wallace and releasing Anderson isn't all of a sudden going to make Quinn an accurate passer. He struggles with passes thrown longer than 15 yards.

Obviously Browns president Mike Holmgren was influential in the trade because he coached Wallace from 2003-2008 in Seattle. It is obvious, too, that Holmgren regarded Wallace as a backup because as soon as Matt Hasselbeck recovered from whatever injury meant Wallace had to play in a given season, Hasselbeck was back in the saddle.

The trade is beneficial because Wallace is more accurate than Anderson and his touchdown to interception ratio (25/14 for Wallace, 46/45 for Anderson) is better. It also eliminates any quarterback controversy - at least until Quinn completes 13 of 31 passes against the Ravens as he did last season, or until he completes 6 of 19 against the Steelers in a game the Browns won on a strong running game and stronger defense.

This is Quinn's last chance. He might not get the opportunity to finish it if the Browns trade for a starter, such as Kevin Kolb from the Eagles, which is unlikely, or if they jump up to draft Sam Bradford, which also is unlikely.